BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Hot Rods fell to the Lake County Captains 4-2 win on Tuesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. The Hot Rods are 6-7 ahead of Wednesday’s rubber game of the series, which will have a 10:35 a.m. first pitch.
For the second straight night, Lake County jumped out to a first-inning lead. Tyler Freeman began the game with a double to left off Hot Rods starter Alan Strong, then scored on Ruben Cardenas’ two-out single to go up 1-0.
Bowling Green immediately got the run back in the bottom of the first against Lake County left-hander Raymond Burgos. Michael Smith led off with a walk and advanced to second on a balk. After moving to third on Wander Franco’s single, Smith motored home on a wild pitch to even the score at 1-1.
Freeman and Cardenas both struck again in the third. Freeman once again let off with a double, this time to right. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Cardenas hit a towering drive to deep center that Smith couldn’t come down with. Cardenas circled the bases with a two-run, inside-the-park home run that put Lake County up 3-1. Smith would leave the game following the play.
Bowling Green had an opportunity to chip into the deficit in the fourth as Kaleo Johnson and Grant Witherspoon led off with singles, but Burgos wiggled out of the jam to preserve the two-run cushion.
In the fifth, Bowling Green drew closer, as Bryce Brown turned on a 1-2 pitch from Burgos and pulled just inside the left field foul pole for a 391-foot solo homer that made it 3-2, Lake County.
Lake County added an insurance run in the seventh, then held the Hot Rods to just one hit over the final four innings, winning 4-2 to force a rubber game on Wednesday.
Strong (0-1) worked 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking none and fanning a career-best eight batters in the loss. Chris Muller came out of the pen and allowed a run on two hits while striking out three. Cristofer Ogando walked two batters and hit one, but worked a scoreless ninth inning.